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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Frenkie de Jong: Barcelona told me to knock Real Madrid out of Champions League

Ajax midfielder lines up against the European champions on Tuesday night as the Dutch side am to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit

Frenkie de Jong, right, takes part in an Ajax training session ahead of the clash against Real Madrid. Reuters
Frenkie de Jong, right, takes part in an Ajax training session ahead of the clash against Real Madrid. Reuters

Frenkie de Jong has revealed his future club Barcelona have asked him to try and eliminate Real Madrid from the Uefa Champions League when the Dutch midfielder lines up for Ajax on Tuesday night.

De Jong, 21, signed for Barcelona for €75 million in January, and will move to the Spanish giants at the end of the season. But his immediate focus is on Barca's arch rivals Madrid, who host De Jong's Ajax in the Champions League last-16, second leg at the Bernabeau.

Madrid, the reigning European champions, won the first leg in Amsterdam 2-1 and are therefore in a strong position to progress to the quarter-finals.

However, De Jong was given a few words of encouragement by his next employers.

"I spoke to them when I signed the contract and they told me to try to knock out Real Madrid, as that would be great for Barca, too," the Netherlands international told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

Ajax's daunting task of turning the tie around has been given a slight boost by the suspension of Real captain Sergio Ramos, who picked up a yellow card late in the game in Amsterdam.

De Jong urged his side to be courageous and believes they can still cause a shock by eliminating Madrid, who have lost their last three games at the Bernabeu and were beaten 1-0 and 3-0 by Barcelona in their previous games.

"We have to play on the attack, put them under pressure and play great football," he added. "If everyone contributes, we have enough quality to cause a surprise."

Updated: March 6, 2019 07:22 PM

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